“Upper lower level” in bodybuilding

The “Upper Low” bodybuilding program is sometimes perceived by some as the best distribution of preparation for doping-free progress. On the other hand, this is just a step between FullBody and Split, but it is not sustainable in the medium to long term. What is it really?

Definition of the upper-lower program in bodybuilding

The definition of the Upper Lower program in bodybuilding.
The Upper Lower program in bodybuilding is a HalfBody workout in which the body workout is divided into two parts.

We do a session for the upper body and a session for the lower body, which we alternate and repeat once or twice per week to get a total of 3 to 4 resistance workouts. weekly. Sometimes some people train with it six times a week, but this is “too much” for most.

In all cases, this is a classic split, a training distribution that is often applied after reaching the limits of the FullBody program in bodybuilding, before moving on to the more conventional PPL or Split program, where each muscle will work more carefully.

This training distribution is also often used in physical fitness , whose needs do not match natural bodybuilding practices, whose primary focus is to build muscle and transform physically.

Benefits of the Upper Lower program in bodybuilding

Upper Lower Program in Bodybuilding – Extremely Simple program. Instead of looking for the best distribution in HalfBody, we divide our body in half and choose one or two muscle exercises among the most effective, depending on the morpho-anatomy (you can see the list here).

The exercise order is also simplified as you start the session with the largest muscles.

Eliminated thinking about the best position between our different muscles, which can be a dilemma , especially if we are starting bodybuilding and we do not have the knowledge to tune his program. The High Low program also allows for frequency workouts versus split workouts.

Being able to repeat your strength exercises often increases the accuracy of these exercises. This is called motor learning. Improving your technique allows you to make the effort more muscular and less nervous, and therefore better used for building muscle.

This saves time because the first wins when you start strength training are always nervous . We gain strength “quickly” because our inter- and intramuscular synchronization improves. A prime example to remember is the bar that fluttered during the first bench press in the hallway, which improved muscle tension.

The more often an exercise is repeated, the more we improve technically and the more we benefit from it. You should know that our technique is always “perfect”, so rapid progress in the short term thanks to high frequency bodybuilding training. Finally, the “Upper Low” bodybuilding program is not very strict if you have a busy schedule. Since each session is more or less repeated over the course of a week, it is seldom felt that a session is shifted or skipped.

Disadvantages of the Upper Lower program in bodybuilding

Unfortunately, the Upper Lower bodybuilding program also has disadvantages . For a start it is that from a certain level of individual strength it becomes impossible to give enough attention to the muscles that were working. last.

Since the order of exercises in HalfBody, as a rule, is to train the largest muscles in front of the smallest, the latter can no longer be stressed with sufficient mechanical stress, that is, with sufficient load. high, which no longer stimulates muscle growth (see the concept of tolerable loss).

Some muscles are then ignored in favor of others, and this can be inconvenient if the muscles that are trained last may be your weak points; In contrast, not everyone has strong biceps and triceps.

This is why, at a certain level, it is really worthwhile to conduct your morpho-anatomical analysis to personalize your program and thus determine which of our programs deserves more attention. with the aim of reorganizing the order of his teachings. In the second step , thanks to progress as the loads used are getting heavier and heavier, it no longer makes sense to repeat the same exercises “too often”.

According to Sherrington , you can only improve your recovery by 50% and your strength by more than 300%. This explains why the more we progress, the more intense our workouts, the more they must be positioned to be able to continue progressing while limiting the risk of wear and tear and injury.

Given the high frequency of heavy training, we use our joints and tendons are faster. Example are powerlifters, that is, athletic strength practitioners who advance in training as they progress until they reach deadlift in some cases. heavy soil every 15 days (outside of tech sessions or muscle building).


A good test to find out if the Upper Lower bodybuilding program is right for you is not doing one session (skipping one) to see if you’re ready for the next. no longer fits. If so, then it’s probably time to move on to the split bodybuilding style.

Until the finish , the Upper Lower Program in bodybuilding, given the amount of exercise, especially in the upper body, can take a very long time. Not everyone has 2-3 hours to complete their activities, including a warm-up before each exercise and stretches to be done according to your needs.

The more effort we put in, the more recovery time between sets increases, which also contributes to the length of the sessions.

Upper Lower Bodybuilding Program Example

This is a example of the Upper Lower bodybuilding program. It is to completely adapt to oneself, that is, to its morpho-anatomy, limitations and capabilities. This can be useful for a beginner practitioner, that is, who has been involved in bodybuilding for several months.

If you want to learn to personalize your bodybuilding program at all levels, know that I have written a complete book on this subject based on my experience as a coach since 2006 and thousands of “students are training. In addition to the complexities, this is primarily a practical book that is easy to apply through various stages.

Upper Lower Program in Bodybuilding
Session A – Upper Body
Bench Press 4 sets of 6-10 reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets of 8-15 reps
High traction pulley with wide front grip 4 sets of 8-15 reps
One-arm dumbbell, dumbbell 4 sets of 8-15 reps
Sitting side height 4 sets of 10-30 reps
Slanted curl 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Magic tRYCeps (for watching exercise in video) 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Session B – Lower Body
Incline Leg Press 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Squat Avant 4 sets of 6-10 reps
Seated Leg Curl 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Lumbar Bench Extension 4 sets 15 to 50 reps
Thigh Calf 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps
Crunch at the Swiss Ball 4 sets of 15-30 reps
Gainage Planche 4 sets from 30 ”to 1 minute

These upper lower bodybuilding sessions should be repeated one to two times a week depending on your availability. You can reduce the importance of the disadvantages of the Upper Lower program for bodybuilding to make it more effective.

The first step is to prioritize the workouts with the muscles you really want to develop. The session begins with the muscles most important to us, the ones who lag most.

The second step of getting enough attention to each muscle is not to do the same exercises in every Upper Lower Body session. For example, you might alternate multi-joint exercises in one session and isolation exercises in another. This will reduce the fatigue of muscles at the end of the session that have not previously been subjected to intense work, even secondary.

Be careful, as this step may not work for new bodybuilders who need to repeat the same exercises frequently to automate them (see motor training). By varying the exercise, it also reduces the stress on our tendons and joints and therefore wears out less quickly despite the relatively high frequency of work.

Finally, the third step can be implemented to shorten the duration of the sessions, especially the upper body: to give up certain muscles. This is mainly the case for those with biceps and triceps ahead of the rest of the body and for whom localized work will therefore be of little interest. This can also be the case for the deltoids (shoulder muscles), but less commonly for other muscles.

Who should make this program?

Upper Lower Bodybuilding Program Not For Everyone. This is for people who have reached the end of the FullBody program in bodybuilding. This is for the intermediate bodybuilding people looking to gain strength and muscle mass as a priority. Here I define the intermediate level as the Bronze / Silver level at the SuperPhysique Club. suitable for bodybuilders for muscle building for their main physical activity.

The “High Low” bodybuilding program, which is the HalfBody program, is undoubtedly suitable for most of the unalloyed bodybuilders with the adaptations we just saw.

Finally, if your goal is to maximize your potential in bodybuilding, then it will show its limits at a time (different for everyone), and you should not hesitate to go to Split to give the same energy to every muscle .


Like any other program, the Upper Lower program in bodybuilding has its advantages and disadvantages. Whichever program you are currently using, keep in mind that this is just a step .

There is no universal strength training distribution that would suit everyone without time limit and forever, despite what some “experts” say. The Upper Lower Bodybuilding Program may work for you today, not tomorrow. Ultimately, the secret is always about personalizing what you do.

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